Over the years, our expert reviewers have tested and reviewed several products from the Zoho ecosystem, often with positive results. The company’s project management tool has been around since 2006, and for the most part, it continues the high standards we are accustomed to with Zoho products. We’ll share our thoughts during this full Zoho Projects review.
Key Takeaways: Zoho Projects
- Zoho Projects is a project management solution for small businesses looking for a cost-effective tool that helps manage projects.
- The free version is very limited in terms of features and is really only suitable for light use.
- From our testing, we liked using the software and that it’s possible to customize the design of the user interface.
On the whole, Zoho has a good track record with its software products. We spoke highly of Zoho WorkDrive and Zoho Vault, so we went into this Zoho Projects review with high expectations. The snapshot is that we really like Zoho Projects, but how does it compare to other project management apps (see our best project management software for a few examples)?
From our testing, we can certainly say one of the best project management software options for teams and small businesses. That’s because it’s very cost-effective and full of features. It may also be the right option for larger companies and those at the other end of the scale, like freelancers. We’re sure of one thing: By the end of this review, you’ll know if Zoho Projects is right for you.
Yes. Zoho has created a very good project management software that has excellent tools for project and task management.
In the world of project management solutions, Zoho Projects is one of the easier products to learn. That’s mainly down to its well-designed software and the well-informed knowledgebase and customer support.
Zoho Projects is best suited for those already in the Zoho software ecosystem. It’s also an option for those looking for cheap project management software that offers many of the familiar project management features.
Zoho Projects Alternatives
Zoho Projects Review: Pros & Cons
- Excellent value
- Comprehensive features
- Native document creator
- Customizable UI design
- Easy to use
- Good tutorials
- Free plan is weak
- Bland interface design
- Lack of integrations
Zoho Projects offers three plans, and as is standard with project management apps, the features you get depend on the price you pay. We’ll get into pricing a little later, but first we’ll go through the three tiers and what features you can expect to get.
Zoho Projects Free Plan Features
We found the features on the free plan to be underwhelming. For starters, free users are limited to only two projects per account. If you need to create more than two projects, you’ll have to delete an older one before you can move on. Equally disappointing is the amount of storage space available per account, which is 10MB — hardly anything in today’s digital world.
For task management, features are limited. There’s a basic to-do list view that beginner users may like. It does the job well enough; however, those who like a modern design may prefer a service like Notion (read our Notion review) or Todoist (read our Todoist review).
Gantt charts tend to be reserved for paid plans, but Zoho Projects offers them on the free plan. That said, the chart is “read only,” meaning you can’t do much with it. Other project management tools on the free plan include “custom status,” which allows you to mark a task using terminology that fits your business needs.
There’s also a calendar view and a “project feed,” which we like. Think of the project feed as Twitter but for your project updates, a modern way of keeping track of all that’s going on that others users can comment on.
To broaden the tool, free users can integrate with internal and external tools. Internal integrations include Zoho CRM and Zoho Meeting, and external Zoho Projects integrations include Microsoft Teams, Zapier and Google Workspace.
Zoho Projects Premium Features
Zoho Projects’ features really spring to life once you sign up for one of its paid plans. Those working on multiple projects are no longer limited to just two; in fact, you can create unlimited projects on the Premium plan. The 10MB of storage space increases significantly to 100GB, which should be plenty for most small teams.
Fans of Gantt charts can use the Gantt chart freely. It allows you to set task dependencies and do all your work directly inside the Gantt chart, without the limitation of “read only” mode. If you don’t favor Gantt charts, you can still use the list view and a kanban board to track task progress.
TeamGantt has always been our leading Gantt chart tool, and in fairness Zoho Projects offers a very similar experience both in usability and design. TeamGantt offers a little more in terms of tracking projects, including the ability to see task progress in percentages, but very little separates the two. You can check out our TeamGantt review to learn more.
The kanban board, as useful as it is, is no match for Trello (read our Trello vs Zoho Projects comparison). You can do more customization with Trello and the design is more in line with modern day standards. That said, Zoho Projects has kept its kanban board simple, which means it is effective and does the job you need it to do. To learn more about why Trello is a great Zoho Projects alternative, take a look at our Trello review.
Time tracking tools become available on paid plans, and Zoho Projects users can first estimate working hours and then log the actual time spent on a task. There’s a basic, built-in time tracker to help accurately track the hours you work. You can find a step-by-step tutorial on how to use it in our Zoho Projects time tracking guide. It’s effective, but for those who want a little more, check out the best time management tools.
Zoho Projects Enterprise Plan Features
The Enterprise plan is the top-tier offering from Zoho Projects. You get all the features on the Premium plan, plus additional features. Rather than 20 project templates, you get 30. This term is a little misleading; rather than getting premade project templates from Zoho, it’s just a space to create your own templates for future use. You do get an extra 20GB of storage space too.
Gantt charts receive further depth on the Enterprise plan, as project managers can create critical paths for their project timeline, plus set dependencies between multiple projects. For all task views, project managers can create custom fields and describe tasks, milestones and time tracking sheets with details that fit their business terminology.
Enterprise plan users are also able to create workflow rules for tasks. These are automations that make project management much easier, especially for menial tasks such as automatically updating task status and sending email notifications when a task status changes.
Collaboration and File Sharing
Zoho Projects has some native collaboration tools that may be of interest to those looking for an alternative to Microsoft and Google apps. These tools include Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show, which are document, spreadsheet and slideshow creators, respectively. None of them are as advanced as the competitors, but they all function well and will suffice for basic use.
You can share anything you create inside Zoho’s collaboration tools with both internal and external users. Similar to the Microsoft and Google apps, a project manager can grant specific user permissions, including view only, comment and edit. Everything worked in real time, and we must say we were mostly impressed with Zoho’s native tools.
If you don’t wish to use Zoho’s native productivity tools, you can integrate the platform with Google Workspace, which includes Google’s document and spreadsheet creator. Microsoft Office fans don’t have the same advantage, and if you don’t want to shift from the MS platform, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Zoho Projects lets you upload documents created outside the platform. You can create folders and develop your own document management system for each project. While this works for managing projects, we wouldn’t recommend using it to manage company-wide documents. For that level of organization, we suggest checking out the best document management software.
Built into the software is a communication tool. It’s a basic instant messaging tool that lets you divide your conversations into different topics and add different users (should you wish) to each topic. It is not very advanced beyond text messaging, but you can send voice messages as well. It’s not one of the best Slack alternatives, but it does the job for light use.
Zoho Projects Features Overview
|Multiple project management|
|Native scrum management|
|Set user permissions|
Zoho Projects pricing plans will excite anyone looking for a cheap project management software. Before we get into numbers, we would say that the free version isn’t the best and it’s worth looking for Zoho Projects alternatives if you don’t want to pay, which you’ll surely find in our selection of the best free project management software.
When we look at Zoho Projects’ cost per user, you quickly see it’s one of the best price offerings on the market. The Premium plan costs $4 per user per month on an annual subscription, and Zoho’s Enterprise plan comes in at $9 per user per month on an annual subscription.
Zoho Projects is more affordable than ClickUp’s Unlimited plan, another cheap plan that allows you to create unlimited projects (here’s our Zoho Projects vs ClickUp comparison). The Enterprise plan is also a little cheaper than monday.com’s mid-tier plan, but from our testing, we believe monday.com to be the superior product overall (you can read our Zoho Projects vs monday.com or monday.com review to learn why it’s our favorite project management tool).
If you’re already in the Zoho ecosystem, it may be worth looking into Zoho One, which lets you integrate Zoho Projects into an all-in-one Zoho package. The cost of that depends on the services you use and needs to be discussed with the sales team.
If you’re in need of project management software that’s free from usability complications and has tools to guide you along the way, Zoho Projects is ticking your boxes. We’ll take you through our experience of using the product, including what we found to be positive and where the areas of improvement are.
Signing up was quick, only requiring us to fill out a name, email address and telephone number. After quickly validating our email address, we were taken to the project dashboard, where we were free to begin our project and task creation. We had access to the Enterprise plan, which allowed us to create unlimited projects, should we desire.
The dashboard has a personal and portfolio view. Your personal view shows you how many tasks you’re working with, plus their status, and the portfolio view is a rundown of all your projects. Portfolio view also contains some easy-to-digest reports in the form of pie charts and graphs.
We like that Zoho Projects offers the opportunity to customize the design of the user interface. There are 24 themes to choose from, with a range of colors and artistic designs. There’s also the option to choose night or day mode, which you can change at any time. There are three fonts to choose from and five font sizes for further personalization.
Creating Projects & Tasks
Creating a new project follows the standard approach throughout most services. We simply had to navigate to “projects” in the left-hand menu; once inside the project’s overview, we selected “new project.”
Inside the new project page you can name, describe and set start and due dates for your project. Here it’s also possible to choose whether this will be a private project for select users or a public one for all team members. You can add a team member after the project is created by navigating to “users” in the top menu.
Once inside the project, the “+” icon is the best way to create a new task. You can assign a task to a team and specific team members, grade it by importance, and add start and due dates. Each new task will be added to all project board views; paid users can then navigate to the Gantt chart if they wish to create task dependencies.
The different views for task management are all pretty bland in design, although you can color-code columns and tasks to add more vibrancy. They function well, and we didn’t experience any lags or system crashes when using each view. The Gantt chart can be used in full-screen mode (which we prefer), and you can filter your views between task types, dependencies and baseline.
For the most part, there’s tons of well-made user tutorials for anyone who needs help using the platform. One or two of the instruction articles were outdated and didn’t reflect the current user interface design — something we made the support team aware of.
The webinars are very well presented and the search functionality is accurate, so finding out how to complete issue tracking, for example, was very straightforward. Zoho’s community section includes useful tips and tricks that allow you to get the most out of the software, which we liked.
Something we don’t tend to see from other software are the “help GIFs,” which are bite-sized overviews of each feature and how everything functions. Most of them are over one minute long, so they don’t really qualify as GIFs; however, we do appreciate that they’re available.
The takeaway here is that Zoho Projects is a well-rounded piece of software that works well and will allow you to get the job done. The design may be a little basic; however, it’s far from the worst design we’ve come across, so most users will enjoy using the product. Read our Zoho Projects tutorial to flatten the app’s learning curve further.
Security & Privacy
Zoho Projects Security
Zoho Projects outlines how it keeps your data secure, both from a digital and physical standpoint. On a security front, we read all the right things; as far as transparency goes, Zoho Projects is one of the more impressive project management tools in this regard.
Any data you add or upload to Zoho Projects is secured with transport layer security (TLS 1.2/1.3) encryption. Perfect forward secrecy is also used to ensure that even if data was compromised in the future, no previous communication or data could be decrypted during cyberattacks.
Once your data has arrived at Zoho Projects data centers, it’s encrypted using the industry standard 256-bit AES encryption. Further security is added as the company then encrypts the data encryption keys with what is called a master key.
The service also outlines its commitment to physical security, including how it vets all its employees. Only authorized users can access the data centers, and they can do so only by using a fingerprint reader to bypass the security doors. Round-the-clock CCTV is also in operation and in-depth background checks are carried out on all new employees.
Zoho Projects Privacy
Regarding privacy, Zoho Projects has multiple privacy policies, and which one applies to you depends on where you’re located. There are global, California, U.K. and South African privacy policies, and the regional ones will be amended to ensure Zoho Projects meets local, state and regional requirements when it comes to handling consumer data.
Zoho only collects and stores data that you actively pass to the company. This includes your email address, name and telephone number. It won’t, however, store any credit card information unless you ask it to via one of its secured payment gateways.
It’s a strong start and we’re pleased there’s no previous website tracking as with other project management software options, like SeaTable, for example. However, it’s not only important to know what data a company collects, but also how it’s used.
Zoho won’t sell your data or give it away to third-party vendors. You won’t receive targeted ads, either. You may receive product and feature updates from Zoho and your information will be used to contact you if you have raised a support request with the support team. The good news is that if Zoho’s product emails bother you, you can opt out of them at any time.
EU customers can also enjoy GDPR, which gives you total control over how your data is used both before and after being a Zoho Projects customer. Even though GDPR isn’t mandatory outside the EU, Zoho Projects extends the policy to all global users, ensuring they enjoy the same level of protection with their data.
Zoho Projects provides multiple support streams, and most of them are available even on the free version. The contact options available on all tiers include email, phone and live chat, plus the option to arrange remote assistance if you need help troubleshooting. There’s also a knowledgebase, community forum and webinars if you prefer to troubleshoot alone.
Those on the Zoho Projects Premium plan also receive one-on-one onboarding when signing up for an account. You can contact support Monday through Friday around the clock, so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Anyone on Zoho’s Enterprise plan gets a dedicated technical support manager, plus early demos on any new features.
We tested both the live chat and email channels with great success. The live chat instantly connected us to a member of the technical support team and we received an email response within two hours of sending our query. Both the responses were detailed and informative and helped us resolve our concern.
The Verdict: Zoho Projects
All in all, we do like Zoho Projects and appreciate its efforts in making it a project management software geared toward communication, collaboration and resource management. The perfect user for Zoho Projects is someone looking for the best project management tools for small teams — however, we’d advise solo users and medium to large businesses to look for other software.
Is Zoho Projects worth your investment? If you’re already using other Zoho apps, it makes total sense to extend your use to the project management tool. It’s certainly not a bad product; in fact, in many areas it’s just as good as the leading PM software, and at a reasonable price.
What is your favorite project management software? Are there other Zoho products you would like us to review? Is there a new project management software you would like us to look at? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.